If you have ever visited St John’s Catholic Cathedral in Portsmouth or have even just sat in traffic outside the amazing building, you will have looked up and seen above you the beautiful stained glass West Window. It was originally designed and manufactured by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake and installed in 1906. It is the oldest of the cathedral’s windows as the others were destroyed in the second world war when a bomb directly hit the adjacent Bishop’s House.
It is made up of six lights (vertical sections) and three large tracery cinquefoils plus associated eyelets. The window covers a total area of 228 square feet or 70 square metres and contains approximately 9,700 panes of glass. It depicts six Saints, St Swithun, St John the Evangelist, St Mary Immaculate, St Edmund, St John the Baptist, and St Wilfred.
Due to deterioration in the leadwork, the window began to collapse earlier this year, requiring scaffolding to be erected to hold it in place. In early July, specialist contractors removed the glass to their workshop for restoration. We hope that the glass will be reinstalled in the early autumn.
The total cost of the project is expected to be more than £100,000. Along with local parishioners, the wider Diocese who benefit from attending many services such as Confirmations, Ordinations, celebration Mass, visits of Relics etc. at the Cathedral are encouraged to donate any amount, perhaps in memory of a loved one, to help with the cost of the restoration. Cheques may be sent directly to the cathedral or paid into the cathedral parish bank account (CDP St John’s Cathedral; Sort code 30-93-04; Account number 0088 3884). People may also text WINDOW to 70560 to donate £10 to the appeal. Texts cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and donors will receive periodic updates on the campaign. To donate without being updated, text WINDOWNOINFO instead.
The names of donors will be recorded in a special commemorative book at the Cathedral.